Examples of Minimalist Living
Minimalist living is living simply with the minimal amount of material possession and resources needed. And getting rid of the unnecessary. To many it will mean downsizing, de-cluttering, and re-prioritizing.
Minimalists tend to value time, peace, and happiness rather than money or material wealth. Non-possessiveness tends to be another character trait.
Whereas the modern urban individual are always busy, rushing to do more and in order to "keep up with the Jones", to move up the corporate ladder, to rise in social status in an never-ending rat race, the minimalists are at the other end of the spectrum.
They try to reduce and get rid of as much stuff as they can, keeping only the essentials. And by doing so, they find that they gain much more in non-tangible affects than they lose in material objects. Many will gain a sense of peace, freedom, and even happiness.
Here is some examples of minimalist living. It does have its appeal. See if there is anything that we can learn from their examples.
Peter Lawrence is the Happy Minimalist
Peter Lawrence calls himself "The Happy Minimalist" -- well, at least that is the title of his book.
By living well below his means for years -- meaning that he spends much less than he earns -- he was able to retire at age 40. Born and raised in Singapore, he holds a Bachelor degree in information technology and an MBA from an American university. Having worked as an manager for Hewlett-Packard, a large multinational hardware and software company, he left the corporate world behind -- valuing time over money.
He now focuses on developing his internal skills -- which based on the video below, one would guess is fitness and music.
The below video published on YouTube in September 2012 shows you how he lives now. As you can see, one can have a good quality of life with the minimalist lifestyle. You just have to redefine what is meant by quality. The video shows him playing a broken-string guitar and an electric keyboard.
He keeps fit using body weight exercises, but no gym or minimal equipment is need. Upper door frame is used for forward and backward holding pull-ups. Chair is used for reverse push-ups. He doesn't just do standard pushing, he does clapping push-up from the floor. For a guy that is 40 plus, this is more fit than a lot of people. See how still his yoga tree pose is.
When watching the video, the word that is the opposite of "pack rat" comes to mind -- minimalist. His room is practically empty. His walk-in closest is too big for his needs. His most expensive possession is a laptop computer with a projector to watch movies projected on the ceiling or wall.
In his book, he writes that ...
"Realize that more is not necessarily better. Beyond a certain point, "more" becomes detrimental."
He can fit his entire possession in one bag. But he says that the pinnacle of minimalist living is to be able to walk without any possession. The saying goes like this: "Everything that I own, I carry"
For any action, determine what is one's objective. Then ask what is the minimal resources needed to achieve that objective.
He may not have a bed, but he sleeps well. He has lived in monastery, but that does not mean his life is not rich with experiences. He has bungee-jumped in New Zealand, sky dived in Australia, and ridden a camel to the Great Pyramids.
Leo Babauta writes "The Simple Guide a Minimalist Life"
Leo Babauta is the author of The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life in which he says that a minimalist life is ...
"one that is stripped of the unnecessary, to make room for that which gives you joy"
He is deeply satisfied at calling himself a "minimalist" in which he "wake in the morning in a room that lacks clutter, in the quite of the early morning..."
(Sounds familiar? Look at Peter Lawrence's room in the above video.)
Babauta also wrote the book titled The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential..."
The nice subtitle that sums it up: "The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential"
And an art it is. Not everyone can live a minimalist lifestyle. And those who attempt it may find it difficult at first, after having been accustomed to the "more is better" mentality.
Babauta provides five guiding principles in his book ...
- Omit needless things
- Identify the essential
- Make everything count
- Fill your life with joy
- Edit, Edit
In the book, Babuta wrote ...
"Only a few years ago, I was over my head in debt, with a work schedule that rarely allowed me to see my family and had me stressed to maximum levels every day. I was overweight and unhealthy ... I was unhappy at work and going nowhere fast. My life was complicated, and I didn't have time for the things I loved."
We are reminded of the Chinese philosopher Confucius words: “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.“
Babuta decided to simplify his life. He made healthy and positive changes to his life.
He quit his day job and now works from home blogging at ZenHabits.net which he says is about "finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives". By the way, he has released all the content on ZenHabits as "uncopyrighted".[reference]
A common trait that found among people who practice minimalists lifestyles are unpossessiveness and non-attachment. They seem to have transcended material possessions. Kind of "zen-like".
The book Zen To Done is among Babauta's other e-Books.
Happier with Less
Becoming a minimalist might in some cases mean giving up some possession and some money. But what is wrong with that? Many people are able to find greater happiness with less money.
Although Michael Gates Gill might not call himself a minimalist, he is an example of how it is possible to be happy despite having to downsized dramatically. Michael Gates Gill was making a lot of money in the corporate world as an advertisement executive when he was laid off. He eventually went to work at Starbucks as a barista serving coffee.
In his book How Starbucks Saved My Life, he said that he made less money but enjoyed his life more and is happier than when he was an executive. Obviously, Starbucks does not pay Michael the same salary as his executive position. But being happy is what counts.
You can hear Michael Gates Gill tell his story at Google in the below video ...
Bill happier with less
The theme of happier with less is not uncommon. In the below video, Bill (another writer on HubPages) will tell you how much he used to make and how much less he makes now. But you know what? He is happier now when he is making less money. Because he realizes that there is no need for "stuff". Bill does not own a TV and is thinking about getting rid of his car.
Bill writes more about simplistic living on HubPages.